The patterns and motifs chosen for each Japanese kimono are significant and carefully selected to suit the wearer. The choice of pattern size, color, symbology and even the length of the sleeve will indicate the wearer’s gender, age, status, wealth, and taste.
The images may be printed, painted or embroidered into the fabric and often have complex levels of meaning. Many have specific auspicious significance derived from mythology, religion or popular beliefs. The choices might bestow good fortune on the wearer, wrapping them in divine benevolence and protection. Another combination might allude to the virtues or attributes of the wearer (or those they aspire to), reflect particular emotions, or relate to the season or a special occasion. The use of auspicious motifs in the kimono reveals the Japanese belief in the literal, as well as the figurative, power of images.